The state pension is split into two types: the basic state pension and the new state pension. The state pension that a person claims will depend on when they were born. For instance, men born before April 6, 1951, and women born before April 6, 1953 can claim the basic state pension. Anyone born on or after these dates will need to claim the new state pension instead. The state pension amount rises each year, under the triple lock guarantee.

This means that it rises by whichever of the following is the highest:

  • Earnings – specifically the average percentage growth in wages in Great Britain
  • Prices – which means the percentage growth in prices in the UK as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
  • 2.5 per cent

The full amount for the basic state pension is different to that of the new state pension.

Basic state pension

In 2019/20, the maximum basic state pension amount stands at £129.20 per week.

In order to get the full amount, one needs a total of 30 qualifying years in National Insurance contributions or credits.

This means that the individual was either working and paying National Insurance, getting National Insurance Credits – such as for unemployment, sickness, or as a parent or carer, or paying voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Men born before 1945 and women born before 1950 follow different rules – as they need more qualifying years to get a full state pension.

For instance, a man who was born before April 6, 1945, needs 44 qualifying years, while women born before April 6, 1950, needs 39 qualifying years.

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These men will need 11 qualifying years in order to get any state pension whatsoever, while women born before the aforementioned date would need 10.

Depending on a person’s circumstances, they may get the Additional State Pension – an amount which may be paid alongside one’s basic state pension payment.

New state pension

The full new state pension is currently £168.60 per week.

That said, the amount that a person will get depends on their National Insurance record.

In order to get any state pension, one will usually need to have 10 qualifying years on their National Insurance record.

A person may get less than the full amount if they were contracted out before April 6, 2016.

The gov.uk website explains: “Your National Insurance record before 6 April 2016 is used to calculate your ‘starting amount’. This is part of your new State Pension.”

It adds: “Your starting amount will include a deduction if you were contracted out of the Additional State Pension.

“You may have been contracted out because you were in a certain type of workplace, personal or stakeholder pension.”

For the maximum amount, a person will need 35 qualifying years to get the new full state pension, if they do not have a National Insurance record before April 6, 2016.

Gov.uk’s “Check your State Pension” tool may offer insight into how much an individual can get.

READ MORE: Can state pension be inherited from spouse? How to check if new rules have affected you



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